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Gulf-Times (Qatar): Russia agency reports leak at TNK-BP unit

Published: Sunday, 4 March, 2007, 10:02 AM Doha Time
MOSCOW: Russia’s environmental agency said yesterday that environmental violations at Orenburgneft, a subsidiary of Anglo-Russian oil firm TNK-BP, had caused an oil pipeline leak on Wednesday which threatened water supplies.

“The problem is a pipeline accident at Orenburgneft’s Krasnoyarskoye oilfield, which led to oil leaking into Bolshoi Kinel river,” Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the agency, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. Mitvol said pipeline traffic had been stopped and the agency was trying to estimate the environmental damage.

Local media reported earlier this week about 5 tonnes of oil products had leaked into the river in the eastern Russian region of Orenburg, which borders Kazakhstan.

Operations of TNK BP’s parent, BP Plc, are under intense scrutiny after a corroded transit pipeline at its giant Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska ruptured last March, resulting in the largest-ever onshore oil spill in the US state.

Mitvol said worn-out machinery at Orenburgneft, which produced 120mn barrels of crude in 2006, had caused the leak, posing a danger to water supplies.

The TNK-BP joint venture is itself under a cloud because the state is threatening to withdraw its licence for the Kovykta gas field, a huge field well-placed for gas exports to China. Mitvol has asked prosecutors to look into ecological violations there. – Reuters

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